tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 12, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
on our broadcast tonight, raising cain. we are debuting a poll that shows a new gop front runner and it's herman cain. tonight, a closer look at a man who ran a pizza company and now wants to run the country. blackout, a huge outage turns to outrage as millions around the world dropped out of touch. >> reporter: women at risk. as one american city takes a drastic step to save money and now everyone is waiting to see what happens next. and a dream come true. a mother, a daughter and a dream finally becoming reality for them and for all the world to see. them and for all the world to see. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. tonight here we are revealing for the first time the results of our brand new nbc news wall street journal poll and the numbers reveal a new frontrunner in the gop race -- herman cain. this will be an unwelcome development to the center of the gop who are trying to blunt the charge from the tea party and others on the right and unite somehow behind a future nominee like mitt romney who the governor of new jersey endorsed yesterday. but as we learn tonight the numbers are still very much on the move and we begin with our white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. look, the republican establishment may believe they know who the republican challenger to president obama will be but republican voters have not gotten the memo. >> my top priority is nine, nine, nine.
>> reporter: at tuesday night's new hampshire debate, businessman herman cain and his economic plan were center stage. in the new nbc wall street journal poll, cain is on top. he's never held elective office and now leads the republican field by 27%, followed by the establishment frontrunner mitt romney at 23%. rick perry, the leader of the gop pack a month ago saw his support fall by more than 20 points down to 16%. cain is the latest in a series of republicans to surge to the top of the field and shake up the race. >> donald trump at 17%. >> we have a new frontrunner in tomorrow night's presidential debate and that is rick perry. >> reporter: romney's numbers have been consistent and he's been unable to convince conservatives to support his nomination. but he does test better than any other republican against president obama. trailing by just two points, 46-44. cain trails obama by double digits. for new jersey governor chris
christie, romney's electability matters. >> i wouldn't be with him if he wasn't going to win. >> reporter: for 67% of republican primary voters a candidate who shares their views outweighs the ability to beat president obama. while the president's standing hasn't improved -- just 44% approve of the job he's doing -- his jobs plan gets support but only after a brief description is read. the bigger headwind for the president is the country's pessimism. the 74% who say the country is headed in the wrong direction is the highest number recorded since mr. obama took office. and a record level of respondents, 82%, think the entire federal government is unhealthy and needs large reforms. our pollsters went back and reinterviewed some of the cain supporters to ask why herman cain. he isn't a politician, said one. he seems like a real person, said someone from texas. he's not part of the political establishment. and said a man from indiana, he's probably the best candidate
at the moment. brian? >> here we go with the new set of numbers tonight. chuck todd starting us off. thanks. as chuck just reminded us, as we have now seen happen several times just this election cycle, polls come out showing a new gop frontrunner, then the scrutiny begins. so it begins in a big way tonight for herman cain. the man with the economic plan he calls 9-9-9 now, for a time at least, gets to sample what being number one feels like. kelly o'donnell has more on the man of the moment. >> reporter: with his folksy, never been a politician appeal, herman cain has caught fire. >> a lot of people are taking a second look and they are saying, maybe this long shot is not such a long shot. >> reporter: at 65, cain sells his self-made success and personal story. son of a chauffeur and a maid, colon cancer survivor. >> i had a 30% chance of
survival. >> reporter: cain climbed the corporate ladder of burger king and then became ceo of the godfather's pizza chain. >> i made hamburgers and pizzas. >> reporter: one simple catch phrase -- >> which is 9-9-9. >> reporter: repeated countless times helped him get noticed. >> my top priority is 9-9-9. [ applause ] >> jobs, jobs, jobs. >> reporter: cain wants a 9% tax rate for individuals, corporations and a new national sales tax. critics say taxing everyday purchases would unfairly burden modest income families. cain counters that it would lower your overall tax bill. >> the 9, 9, 9 plan replaces payroll tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax and the death tax. >> reporter: cain's career expanded to talk radio host. >> it's the same principle of we're going to tax those evil rich people more and more and more and more and more and more!
>> reporter: critics claim he's running a vanity campaign, spending more time on his book tour than the trail. many say cain is not a serious contender. >> it requires an army of troops out there across the country and i don't think there is any evidence that herman cain has any of those yet. >> reporter: from pizza executive to top tier candidate. for now, cain's stock is on the rise. kelly o'donnell, washington. >> a military investigation has found no major mistakes were made in the august operation in afghanistan that ended with a chinook twin rotor helicopter being shot down killing 30 americans including 22 navy seals. no disciplinary action is being taken against anyone involved. one military official called it a standard mission during which a bad guy got off a lucky shot hitting the tail rotor with an rpg. today's report won't be enough for some who thought the chinook
full of american personnel needed more force protection around it and was exposed and open to enemy fire. there is more fallout from the government's stunning claim yesterday that iran was behind a terrorist plot to kill the saudi ambassador in washington. iran pushed back claiming america fabricated the entire plot to distract attention from its own problems including the protests on wall street now and around this country which iran said could bring down capitalism. the biggest terrorism case since the 9/11 attacks came to an abrupt end when the so-called underwear bomber who tried to bring down a jet airliner on final approach into detroit christmas day of 2009 pleaded guilty today in federal court in detroit on the second day of his trial. he now faces a potential sentence of life in prison. if you are a fellow user or you live with one then you already know this next story and maybe it ruled your life today. blackberrys went down with a few
exceptions the whole system crashed along with all of those addicted to them. we learned just this week, by the way, there are now more wireless accounts than there are people in the united states. so an outage like this feels more like an outrage to customers. nbc's tom costello reports tonight on what's going on with blackberry. >> reporter: from coast to coast, a day of aggravation and frustration for blackberry users from air travelers in l.a. >> phone calls work, text messages work, but no e-mail. >> reporter: to new york's rockefeller plaza. >> i could have used it for a couple of hours. wasn't too happy with the service. >> if you can't count on it, i need a business tool i can count on. >> reporter: to the halls of congress and a mom in atlanta who missed a kid's activity today. >> i don't have time to go home and check my e-mail. >> reporter: blackberry's most serious disruption in years began overseas on monday when a router switch failed. then a bkup system crashed. >> i have had no communication or e-mail for two days. >> reporter: the company insists
it wasn't hacked and the problem is fixed, but the data traffic jam is massive. >> the backlog of messages, the traffic that they missed is making the system go down in bits and pieces as well. and apparently that's the reason why it spread to the united states today or last night. >> reporter: the timing of this could not be worse with blackberry in an all out fight with the iphone and android competitors. just today, iphone released a new instant messaging system. 70 million customers worldwide rely on blackberry's record of reliability from executives to families, emergency workers to the white house press corps. even president obama. but in the last year the company's stock has fallen 65%. >> wall street just doesn't believe in the growth story here. they don't believe the management of rim has a handle on the future and will continue to grow. >> reporter: tonight as blackberry struggles to resume normal operations it's under enormous pressure to prove it hasn't lost its touch. tom costello, nbc news,
washington. the so-called occupy wall street protesters were out in force in san francisco today. and several were arrested for shutting down the entrance to the wells fargo bank headquarters there. the march also forced a temporary suspension of one of the city's famous cable car lines. the group said in a statement they want wells fargo to pay its fair share of taxes and to be held accountable for its roll in the financial meltdown. here in new york, by the way, a protest group today marched to the headquarters of jpmorgan chase. central to these protests, persistently high unemployment in this country. there are no shortage of reminders of that. our report tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: 800 miles from capitol hill there were long lines this week at a jobs fair in south haven, mississippi, with more than 2,500 people applying for work. glen jenkins is among the faces of joblessness in america.
>> i just don't know how much longer i can maintain hope. ♪ >> reporter: near detroit, michael mccowan is also worried. after teaching music for 17 years, he just learned -- by mail -- that he and other teachers are being laid off. >> it makes me wonder how i'm going to be able to pay my bills and to be able to give my kids what they need. >> reporter: near miami, general contractor juan montes worked hard for years to support his family but now, with a downturn in construction, can't find work anywhere. >> it makes you feel like not much of a man. when you have done everything for yourself all your life and it's not there anymore, that security. >> reporter: he and his wife gina have run out of money and struggle to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills with no insurance. this year he had to ask his son for help. >> i figure, hey, you know, maybe you help me out with one of the utility bills, you know.
i'm not supposed to be asking my son for help. i'm supposed to be helping him. >> reporter: gina says members of congress bickers over the jobs bill need to walk in her shoes for a while. >> if they were your shoes, how would they feel? >> they wouldn't feel very good right now. they would not. they would feel like something has to be done. >> reporter: a sentiment reflected on millions of american faces now. mark potter, nbc news, miami. when our broadcast continues on a wednesday night, women's lives at stake in a fight over who should help them in what could be a very dangerous situation. >> reporter: a. and later a tribute to an american giant and at the same time a daughter's tribute to her mom and a dream deferred more than 40 years. [ male announcer ] a simple gesture can spark romance anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready
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seal beach. early reports say the suspect, now under arrest, was wearing body armor, carrying a supply of weapons. six people believed to be dead in this incident. now a story some would call belt tightening run wild and women victims of domestic violence caught in the middle. topeka, kansas, like a lot of places in america, is strapped for cash, but what happened there this week in a fight over a law meant to protect women from domestic violence received the national spotlight. nbc's stephanie gosk has our report tonight from topeka. >> reporter: in this midwest town of 127,000, budget cuts are hitting hard. in an extraordinary city council meeting tuesday night, members voted 7-3 to repeal a law making domestic violence a misdemeanor crime. county and city officials were arguing over who should have to pay to prosecute the cases. the district attorney said he no longer had enough money in his budget and that the city had to take over. >> we had to prioritize what
cases we would be prosecuting in our office. would those be homicide, child molestation, rape cases or misdemeanor cases including those of domestic battery. >> reporter: the city's response -- to avoid the cost they just removed the law from the books. but facing local outrage and headlines in the national press late today the district attorney did an about-face. less than 24 hours after the city council's vote he said prosecutions in domestic violence cases would begin again tomorrow. >> we can pick those cases up and file them and ultimately the wrongdoers will be dealt with. >> reporter: 35 cases have not been prosecuted. 18 people arrested have been set free without trial. for domestic violence claudine dombrowski the damage is done. >> the fear is the hardest thing to get back. for the city or the d.a. to say, guess what, we are not
prosecuting. oh, my. you are so alone. >> i'm fairly certain there are already women who have stopped calling the police because they know nothing will be done. >> reporter: most agree in times like these, austerity is a necessity, but question the choices made to meet the bottom line. stephanie gosk, nbc news, topeka, kansas. >> and the capital city of pennsylvania, harrisburg, filed for bankruptcy protection today. eight years after taking out a loan to guarantee an incinerator project. it ballooned to five times the entire city budget. this as the state was ready to take over harrisburg's finances anyway. when we come back who was that woman shopping at target in a baseball cap? we now know it was the fist lady and tonight we learn some of the other places she's gone unrecognized. as much as i can about a company before i invest in it. that's why i like fidelity.
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lady michelle obama walking mostly unrecognized through a target in virginia surprised a lot of people, but the truth is from abe lincoln riding his horse through rock creek park to harry truman's famous brisk walks through d.c. to jimmy and rosalynn carter sneaking out to their famous chinese restaurant, first families love sneaking out of the fish bowl. something al roker asked mrs. obama about today. turns out she sneaks out all the time. >> absolutely. quiet as it's kept, i do it more frequently than people realize. it's amazing how people don't recognize you. they don't expect me at starbucks or chipotle. i actually took bo to petco and the cashier asked me, what kind of dog is that. i said, a portuguese water dog. didn't recognize us. my secret's out, but we try to sneak out as much as possible. it helps to keep our kids' lives
normal. >> that's pretty great. she's been to baskin robbins and said the kids behind the counter often look right through her and don't notice it's her. something tells us the baskin robbins will be getting a call from corporate headquarters about customer service. the girl scouts have new ways to earn a badge in keeping with the times. the new badges with brand new logos include digital film making, customer loyalty for future businesswomen and budgeting. perhaps the scouts who earn that badge could go on to run for congress later in life. >> reporter: frank kameny has died. he was one of the founding fathers of the gay rights movement. he was an army veteran of world war ii who was thrown out of his government job for being gay. he picketed and pressured the government all his adult life. he lived long enough to see his old picket signs displayed in
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here in new york tomorrow night at curtain time, a kind of tribute to dr. martin luther king, jr., in the form of a new broadway play -- "the mountaintop." it's won critical acclaim and awards for its writer, a young woman who wasn't born until after dr. king's death, but thanks to her mother he was always a part of her life story and her dream. our report tonight from nbc's chris jansing. >> reporter: memphis, bright lights, beal street and music. ♪ >> reporter: but you can't talk about the city's history without talking about what happened at the lorraine motel, room 306. >> martin luther king, jr., was killed tonight in memphis, tennessee. >> reporter: she grew up hearing about the great dr. king at her grandmother's knee. >> she still in the living room has two paintings on the wall.
one is of jesus and one is of dr. king. >> reporter: she learned, too, her mother -- just 15 then -- desperately wanted to hear dr king speak in april 1968 at the mason temple but wasn't allowed to go. >> it doesn't matter what's with me now because i have been to the mountaintop. >> that's one of the biggest regrets of my life, that i did not hear martin luther king deliver that speech that night. >> reporter: so katori hall, now a promising young playwright would weave dr. king's story into her own. >> we all want the same things. a smile, a hug. >> a smoke! >> reporter: in "the mountaintop" samuel l. jackson portrays dr. martin luther king, jr., not as martyr, but man. drinking, swearing, vulnerable. >> he was a man who was not as optimistic about the movement as everyone would have us think. >> reporter: also in that motel room, a mysterious maid played by angela bassett and named for
hall's mother, finally bringing her at least on stage, face to face with dr. king. >> we have been drowned. our dreams been washed away. >> i saw just the beauty of his humanity in it. >> reporter: hall became the first black woman ever to win best new play honors in london. and now she's about to take on new york. how does it feel to be on broadway? [ screaming ] >> i don't know yet! it's crazy. i'm going through so many emotions. >> reporter: it was perhaps a crazy idea. to take an icon and elevate him even more to bring him back down to earth. >> he kind of existed as a ghost as i was growing up. i feel as though the play attempts to make him alive and in the room with us. >> reporter: in doing that katori hall has grabbed a piece of the dream that dr. king and her mother imagined all those years ago. chris jansing, nbc news, new